Biden Aide’s Tell-All Pretty Much What You’d Expect

by Patrick Brennan

Politico reports that a former Biden aide, Jeff Connaughton, released a tell-all book last month “in which he lacerates the former Delaware senator as an ‘egomaniacal autocrat’ who was ‘determined to manage his staff through fear.’” Jonathan Martin explains:

The book is hardly an objective study of the vice president, however. Author Jeff Connaughton, a Biden Senate staffer turned lobbyist, is by his own admission deeply disillusioned with the capital and embittered about his experience with the man who inspired him to enter politics. . . . He is harshly critical of his own party and the Obama administration, arguing that the president is no different than most other Washington Democrats in his willingness to kowtow to Wall Street. President Obama and Biden, he writes, are “both financially illiterate.”

The best bits, as you might expect, regard his personal experiences with Biden:

In the prologue, Connaughton recounts the 2008 campaign gaffe when Biden predicted that Obama would be tested soon into his term. In a meeting with Connaughton and some of his other advisers a few days after the election, Biden revealed that he had been upbraided by an angry Obama.

“Biden told us that Obama had called him and told him sharply that he didn’t need public tutoring: ‘I don’t need you acting like you’re my Henry Higgins,’” Connaughton writes. “Biden said his private reaction was, ‘Whoa. Where did this come from? This is clearly a guy who could restrict my role to attending state funerals or just put me in a closet for four years.”

Biden added: “I’m going to have to earn his trust, but I’m not going to grovel to this guy. My manhood is not negotiable.”

And how did Biden like to remind staffers of just what a man he was?

Connaughton recalls a story from the lead-up to Biden’s ill-fated 2008 presidential run. “Later in the campaign, a twenty-three-year-old fundraising staffer got into a car with Biden with a list of names and phone numbers: ‘Okay, Senator, time to do some fundraising calls,’” Connaughton writes. “Biden looked at him and said, ‘Get the f**k out of the car.’”

In fairness, Martin explains that Connaughton is unashamedly disappointed with and biased against Biden, and while Biden’s office offered nothing more than a general statement, “Biden officials did direct POLITICO to some former aides who offered a very different account of their one-time boss.” That’s right: Biden doesn’t have to prove his manhood to Politico.